Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

TV Licensing Court Update

A short update today on the manner in which TV Licensing takes cases to court.

Since the introduction of the Single Justice Procedure all TV Licensing cases are channelled down that route initially. If TV Licensing considers that it has sufficient evidence to prosecute, then the defendant will be sent a copy of the Single Justice Procedure Notice and written charge. The defendant will be asked to indicate a plea of guilty or not guilty. If they fail to respond then the prosecution will go ahead regardless.

A defendant who pleads guilty can still choose to have their case dealt with by the full Magistrates' Court, otherwise it will proceed under the single Justice arrangements. A defendant who pleads not guilty will automatically have their case dealt with by the full Magistrates' Court. If the Magistrate considering the papers spots any complications - suppose the defendant has made an equivocal guilty plea (e.g. "I suppose I must have done it if they say so, but I don't remember being visited by TV Licensing" etc) - then the case should also be listed for a full hearing.

As a result of a recent Freedom of Information request to the BBC, we now know that only the following Magistrates' Courts routinely deal with TV Licensing matters:
  • Brighton
  • Carlisle
  • Leamington Spa
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Preston
  • Stratford (London)
  • Teesside
  • Warrington
  • Wigan
  • Weymouth
Those are the places to go to if you want first hand experience of TV Licensing's unique brand of justice and creative approach to prosecution.

We pity the impoverished single mother in Berwick upon Tweed who has been lied to by TV Licensing, but considers it cheaper and easier to plead guilty rather than take the 100 mile journey to Teesside Magistrates' Court in Middlesbrough.

Similarly the little old lady with the glass eye and wonky leg in Truro - she has a very different recollection of events to the TV Licensing goon who visited her property 5 months ago, but is too frail to make the 140 mile journey to Weymouth Magistrates' Court to set the record straight.

We have also just learnt that it is HMCTS's plan to publish online the personal details of every alleged TV licence evader prosecuted via the Single Justice Procedure.

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Saturday, 15 June 2019

Opinion: Time to Let the BBC Survive on its Own Commercial Merits

The BBC's recent announcement that it is tightening the eligibility criteria for the over-75 TV licence has reignited debate about whether the TV licence should be abolished altogether.

Many moons ago, in a time long before lecherous old perverts stalked the corridors of BBC Television Centre, there was something called the Broadcast Receiving Licence. At its 1922 inception the licence covered the reception of radio programmes, as there was no television service at that stage.

In 1946 the licence was extended to cover the reception of VHF 405-line monochrome television programmes. In 1964 the first UHF-625 line colour television programmes were broadcast on BBC Two. On 1st January 1968 a "colour supplement" was added to the licence fee for the first time. On 1st February 1971 to radio-only portion of the licence was abolished and the TV-only licence came into existence. That's the way it has been ever since.

Technology has changed enormously in the 70 years since the TV licence was first introduced, but the legislation has changed very little. In 1946 there was a single TV channel, the BBC Television Service, which you could only watch for a few hours a day and you had to let your set warm up for 10 minutes beforehand. The BBC was arguably an important national service in post-war Britain. It educated and informed its audience and gelled them together in a sense of national identity and camaraderie. Back then the £2 combined TV and radio licence fee might have seemed value for money.

Step forward to 2019 and there are now hundreds of TV channels available around the clock and from across the globe. People now want to choose what to watch and when to watch it. The BBC now provides a tiny proportion of TV channels, but the £4 billion in TV licence revenue still goes exclusively to the BBC. However woeful its output or sordid its scandal the BBC continues to receive £4 billion on a silver plate as of divine right.

A TV licence is needed for any property where equipment is used to receive TV on any channel, BBC or not, at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is broadcast to other members of the public. Additionally, from 1st September 2016, a TV licence is required for any property where equipment is used to watch or download BBC on-demand programmes via the iPlayer.

The legislation means that anyone watching a non-BBC channel, even if they've paid a hefty subscription for the privilege, still has to stump up £154.50 for a BBC TV licence. Anyone who refuses to pay for a TV licence, even if they do not legally require one, is harassed to the nth degree by the BBC's aggressive revenue generation arm, TV Licensing. Anyone who goes to the trouble of confirming their licence-free circumstances to TV Licensing, not than anyone is legally obliged to, is dismissed as a liar and threatened for payment regardless.

The TV licence is now irrelevant, outdated and unenforceable.

It's about time the BBC was forced to survive on its own commercial merits, just like every other broadcaster has to.

If the BBC continues to churn out dross and squander public money then it deserves to wither away and sink into oblivion.

If you're an over-75 due to lose out on the concession, there has never been a better time to adopt legally-licence-free viewing habits.

If you've found this article useful please consider using our Amazon link for snapping up some bargains or downloading our free ebook.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Fury and Condemnation of BBC Over-75 TV Licence Shake Up

The BBC has sparked fury with its announcement yesterday that it is to reduce eligibility for the over-75 TV licence.

With effect from June 2020 the "free" TV licence, which is currently provided to every household with at least one occupant over the age of 75, will become means tested. It will only be available to those over-75 households with an occupant in receipt of pension credit.

Around 3 million current recipients of the over-75 TV licence will lose their eligibility, saving the BBC around £470 million a year.

The announcement, perhaps unsurprisingly, has gone down like the proverbial fart in a space suit.

The over-75 TV licence was first introduced in 2000 when Tony Blair was the Prime Minister and Gordon Brown the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Since then the cost has been covered by a Government grant paid directly to the BBC.

But under the terms of its most recent Royal Charter the BBC agreed that it would shoulder the cost of providing over-75 TV licences to every eligible household. In return the Government lifted the seven-year freeze on the cost of a TV licence, which gave the BBC scope to boost its coffers.

The outgoing Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called on the BBC to "do the right thing" by continuing to fund the concession under current terms.

Countering accusations that the Government had lumbered the BBC with a poisoned chalice, Mrs May said: "I believe that the BBC actually got a good deal in 2015.

"Indeed, the Government's decision to put the cost of the over-75s on the BBC has been more than matched by the deal coming back for the BBC.

"Those aren't my words", she said. "Those were the words of the Director General of the BBC after the deal in 2015.

"And I think taxpayers now expect the BBC to do the right thing."

The Director General of the BBC in 2015, as today, was Tony Hall.

Appearing on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Victor Gregg, a 99-year-old former prisoner of war, slammed the BBC's decision.

"I'm annoyed because I've always admired the BBC for its supposed integrity", he said.

"It's only two days ago that they were patting all these old people on the head and calling them heroes.

"This generation which has saved the world but on the other hand they are robbing the piggy banks.

"They've lived their lives, they are knackered. Television is an antidote for talking to the cat.

"It's disgraceful. There's no other word for it - they want money, they're overspending. Who do they attack? Those who can't answer back."

Caroline Abrahams, of the charity Age UK, said: "We are going to see sick and disabled people in their eighties and nineties who are completely dependent on their cherished TV for companionship and news, forced to give it up."

A BBC spokesperson said: "Supporting vulnerable people is an absolute priority and many residents of residential care homes, supported housing or sheltered accommodation already benefit from a discounted TV Licence costing just £7.50 and this will still be the case.

"Our new scheme for over 75s will protect the poorest pensioners and we’ll provide additional support for vulnerable customers - while protecting BBC services which they value for companionship."

If you're an over-75 due to lose out on the concession, there has never been a better time to adopt legally-licence-free viewing habits.

If you've found this article useful please consider using our Amazon link for snapping up some bargains or downloading our free ebook.